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Top Airshows in the US

Airshows are a fun event for everyone. Sure, airshows have plenty for you if you own or repair planes, but they also typically feature fun components like stunt shows, too.

Airshows are popular in the U.S., so you’ll likely be able to find one near you. Check out our list below of the best U.S. airshows, or look for others near you.

But don’t worry: you don’t have to go to an airshow to get information about aircraft propeller repair service. From basic maintenance to a complete overhaul, Stockton Propeller can help with it all.

Reno Air Races

The Reno Air Races have been held in Reno, Nevada, for 48 years. They feature different races and performances.

There are also vendors and exhibitors. You can find information on things like flight schools and aircraft manufacturing, as well as purchase items related to aircraft.

One of the most exciting things? The Reno Air Races is the location of the National Championship Air Races, so there are six different classes of aircraft at the event: Formula 1, T6 Class, Biplane, Sport, Unlimited, and Jet.

You can see both racing and acrobatics. The aircraft race on three- to eight-mile courses. Pilots can be civilian, ex-military, or amateur.

In between races, acrobatic pilots perform. Other times, you’ll notice military fly-bys or demonstrations.

This combination makes it an excellent place for a pilot or enthusiast to bring the family. You get to enjoy the specialty, vintage, and modified aircraft, while the kids get to enjoy the acrobatics or military aeronautical technology on display.

So whether you like to watch the speed-of-sound-breaking jets or the vintage and stock propeller aircraft, you’ll find it at the Reno Air Races!

Want a tip? Sunday is the busiest day, so to beat the crowds, go earlier. However, if you want to see the final races, the Unlimited Gold Race, you’ll have to join the crowds on Sunday.

experimental aircraft at airshow

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

There’s a reason the EAA AirVenture is known as The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. This weeklong event is the largest airshow with attendance over 500,000.

There are also more than 10,000 aircraft, and you’ll see all kinds, like vintage craft, homebuilts, ultralights, and warbirds if you make the trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for this incredible event.

But wait, there’s more! It’s not just aerial performances and static aircraft on the ground at AirVenture. There’s plenty for kids or family members who aren’t pilots or aircraft enthusiasts.

For example, there are films, pyrotechnics, demonstrations, workshops, and kid-specific activities. And if you’re looking for a career path in aviation, you can attend the Aviation Job Fair to meet with employers.

Have a lot of kids? This might be the airshow for you: youth aged 18 and under get in free in efforts to introduce more young people to the joys of aviation.

The EAA AirVenture is also committed to encouraging females in aviation. There is a three-day EAA GirlVenture Camp during the airshow and a female-focused gathering called EAA WomenVenture, where women can network, build camaraderie, and enjoy special events.

P51 Mustang at airshow

Los Angeles County Air Show

The L.A. Air Show is a two-day event in almost-always-sunny Southern California. But don’t let the brevity of this airshow dissuade you: it’s full of impressive air performances as well as plenty of ground exhibits.

If you’re looking for daring and spectacular aerial displays, you’ll want to check out this show. If you wish to see Air Force fighter crafts blazing through the skies with precise movements or propeller planes executing acrobatics and stunts — or both! — you’ll find it here.

The L.A. Air Show also features a historical performance of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, complete with flaming pyrotechnic effects. But it’s not all serious: There’s a humorous skit involving a “stolen” 1946 Piper J-3 Cub that will have everyone laughing.

Educating and inspiring young people is a mission for this air show, so they have a STEM program included in the event. There are high school robotics teams in attendance, displaying their creations.

There are also hands-on exhibits where attendees can test out robots, and a new drone exhibit, too.

The event also has multiple panels. Speakers may include former war pilots or current aerospace industry workers.

If I can only go to one airshow, which one should I attend?

It’s hard to pick just one, and, of course, your location and availability might affect your decision, but the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is the largest and highest attended.

If you want to go where everyone else is going and see most people and events possible, it’s probably the airshow for you.

However, if your focus is interacting with other pilots or enthusiasts, or exploring exhibits and vendors for information about aircraft propeller repair service, for example, you might be better off finding an airshow near you.

At a local airshow, even if it’s several hours away from you, you’re more likely to find other flight enthusiasts who live near you and aviation industry services in your area.

boy learning to fly paper airplanes at airshow

What’s the best airshow to take kids to?

For most kids, especially younger ones, the Reno Air Races and the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh are both excellent choices. However, most air shows these days have special areas or events for youth.

All three air shows featured on this page have STEM zones and drone zones. Both of these features will be big hits with tweens and teens.

The EAA AirVenture has a section called KidVenture, which not only has fun, hands-on activities but includes instruction areas where children can log actual flight simulation instruction with a certified instructor or earn official FAA credit.

If you’ve got a future pilot on your hands, EAA AirVenture’s KidVenture is a great place.

Whether you’re interested in repairing or maintaining a propeller because it’s less expensive than replacing it or because the propeller you need is hard to find, Stockton Propeller can help you out.

They’ll also work with you to modify stock propellers for experimental aircraft or better performance. Contact Stockton Propeller today to find out how they can help you.

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business

A Beginner’s Guide to Propeller Terminology

Remember back to school days when you had vocabulary tests? Most students cringed at all those words where you had to memorize the spelling and definition. Quick: what is the definition of a variable pitch propeller?

All joking aside, in the flying world, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the terminology used in the industry.

At Stockton Propeller, we have a passion for flying and everything that makes it happen. Call us if you have any governor, or metal and composite propeller, overhaul or maintenance needs.

Why learn terminology?

While it might seem somewhat elementary, understanding the basic terminology is essential to understanding the field. When you interact with other pilots or artisans in the aviation world, it is critical everyone is using the same language.

However, one of the best reasons to learn basic terminology is the ease of business. Imagine taking your machine to a mechanic and finding out you speak different languages! It can feel similar to that when both parties don’t adhere to the same definitions.

When you need maintenance or repairs, it is much more convenient when you understand everything the mechanic is talking about, and you can clearly describe the issues or problems you have noticed.

If you need another reason, how about the joy of learning new things? A lifelong student is always learning up to date and helpful information. You never know when you will learn something that will be important down the road.

Now, on to defining some terms and learning a little more about them.

Propeller terminology word cloud
Propeller word cloud

Major propeller components

Hub: The main housing that attaches to the engine output shaft and holds the blades and pitch change mechanism together.

Blade: Two to seven blades are held in place by the hub, which connects to the engine through an output or crankshaft.

Pitch Change Mechanism: The assembly that converts hydraulic energy to mechanical motion to rotate the blades.

Feathering springs: Continually push blades toward a high pitch.

Counterweights: Also move the blades toward a high pitch or feather angle when there is a loss of oil pressure.

Spinner: The spinner dome is positioned over the propeller hub and creates an aerodynamic cover that assists in engine cooling and streamlining the airplane.

Spinner Bulkhead: This component connects the spinner to the rest of the propeller assembly protecting the pitch change mechanism and hub.

Other terminology

Governor: Oil pump with flyweights that controls the engine speed or RPM by changing the blade pitch.

Propeller Pitch: The propeller blade pitch is the angle the blade presents to the rotation of the propeller.

Fixed pitch propeller: The angle of this propeller is set at installation and cannot be changed while the aircraft is in flight. It is a compromise of best take-off and cruise performance.

Variable pitch propeller: The pilot can adjust the angle of a variable pitch propeller during flight to optimize the efficiency for take-off, climbing, and cruising.

Constant speed propeller: Like a variable pitch propeller, the blade angle of this propeller can be adjusted during flight. However, this propeller automatically adjusts its design pitch to maintain revolutions per minute (RPM).

Propeller control systems: There are two main kinds of control systems you should be aware of: single-acting systems and double-acting systems.

Single-acting systems utilize oil pressure to change the blade pitch in one direction and aerodynamic forces and a spring, or blade counterweights and a spring, in the opposite direction..

Double-acting systems utilize oil pressure to change the blade pitch in both directions.

Orange Green and Red engine with propellersA few more key terms

Flat pitch: The blade angle with minimum torque, usually around 0 degrees. The blades are flat, facing the direction of travel. If an angle is below 0 degrees, the pitch is considered reverse.

Reverse thrust: The pitch angle can be changed to the point of producing reverse thrust. This helps stop an airplane upon landing, or backing it up as needed. This is very helpful on seaplanes for backing away from the dock.

Coarse or high pitch: The maximum in-flight pitch available for reducing rpm and gaining cruise speed.

Feather: The angle that results in slow or no rotation when the engine is not running. This angle is just under 90 degrees and used to reduce drag on a “dead” engine on a multi-engine airplane to allow the plane to be more controllable.

Blade Twist: For the propeller to achieve optimum aerodynamic performance, blades need to be twisted at specific angles. To understand this angle best, you need to consider both the plane’s forward speed, which is constant, and the propeller’s rotational speed, which increases as you move from the root of the blade to the tip.

The blade twist creates this disparity of speed along the propeller, which will get you the maximum amount of lift along the blade.

Thrust: Thrust is the force that moves the craft. Propellers create this thrust similar to how wings produce lift. As evidence, propellers somewhat resemble wings. Air flows over the wing, forming a pressure differential, creating lift.

In the case of the propeller, air flows over the blade at an angle that causes a similar pressure change, producing lift. This created lift in the propeller makes the airplane move forward instead of vertically.

Vintage Airplane with close up on propeller

Partner With Stockton Propeller Today

While this is a simplified list and only enough to get you started, you now have a basic understanding of terms that will help you going forward. When you need to speak to a real propeller terminology expert, contact Stockton Propeller.

We have experts in blade overhaul and reconditioning, as well as experts that can repair damaged blades to specification, or modify experimental blades to achieve an extra percentage of performance.

Whether you are flying with something as simple as a fixed-pitch metallic propeller, trying to keep your warbird flying, or fine-tune your experimental aircraft, contact us for a free quote on your repair or maintenance needs today.